Blake Dunlap needs to finally meet his twin sister’s Bianca’s boyfriend, so he reluctantly agrees to go to poker night. Matt turns out to be a good guy, and someone Blake can grow to like. But Matt’s best friend Ryan Everett is an asshole. Every time he opens his mouth, insulting things come out and Blake has serious disdain for the man. Ryan isn’t enamored with Blake either, thinking the man is snotty, snarky, and pretentious. Despite the fact that they are physically attracted to each other, their personalities clash big time and they do not get along.
The next time Blake and Ryan meet doesn’t go any better. Halloween brings another encounter that has Ryan showing off his foot in mouth problem, but also showing his chivalrous side. Blake and Ryan kiss, but Blake leaves before it can go any further. When Ryan shows up for the Dunlap family Thanksgiving, there are more kisses to be had, but once again Ryan opens his mouth and ruins the moment. Blake certainly dislikes Ryan, and Ryan doesn’t like Blake too much either. But Ryan can’t get Blake out of his head. At a New Year’s Eve party, Matt and Bianca get engaged and while the news is happy, Blake is lost in his own head and gets drunk. Not wanting his sister to see him like that, Blake agrees to sleep it off at Ryan’s and Ryan again shows his thoughtful, caring side. But with the impending marriage of Blake’s sister and Ryan’s best friend, the men know they can’t avoid each other forever. Blake goes to Ryan’s in an attempt to start a friendship, but their attraction comes to a head and they sleep together. They still aren’t exactly friends, but the sex is so good that they agree to keep it as a no strings affair, with rules in place. The biggest of which is that they don’t tell anyone.
For weeks Blake and Ryan see each other for phenomenal sex but continue to keep it a secret. But both men are tied up in knots about it, wanting more but not thinking they can have it. When Matt and Bianca figure out that Blake and Ryan are sleeping together, Ryan is forced to say it’s actually the beginning of a relationship so that they can smooth the ruffled feathers. He asks Blake to pretend to be his boyfriend so they can keep the peace. It actually goes really well, though both men know they aren’t being truthful. And then Blake’s lease is up, Bianca is going to move in with Matt, and Blake has nowhere to go. He agrees to stay with Ryan until he can find a place, and Ryan sees it as the perfect opportunity to really woo Blake. Ryan is in love with him, but can’t say the words and he sets out to show Blake how he feels. Except Blake has some serious baggage as a holdover from a past relationship, and Blake can’t trust himself. Their lack of communication and trust ends in an argument, and Ryan breaks things off realizing that Blake is never going to care about him the way that he cares about Blake. Blake walks away without a fight, and it’s only after that he realizes he wants to fight for Ryan. Now Blake has to figure out how to win Ryan back and show the man that he loves him.
One of the things I really enjoyed about this book was its predictability and I don’t mean that in a bad way. Sometimes I just want a familiar story, written in a wonderful way, and Making Nice is exactly that. Yes, you know what’s going to happen as you read this book, but Davis has a great writing style, the pacing was good, the characters are well defined and developed, and the plot has a wonderfully fleshed out feel. All in all, in was a very enjoyable read.
Blake has some serious issues to work through in this book, and I liked being on his journey. He’s faced with the loss of his twin sister, not in any tragic means thank goodness, but in the fact that she has found the man that she wants to spend her life with and her loyalties are shifting, as they should. As happy as Blake is for Bianca, it’s hard for him to reconcile that he’s no longer the most important person in her life. Add to that the fact that he’s always has the fantasy that they would find their forever men at the same time, and Blake is feeling hurt and lost, though he doesn’t really blame Bianca for that. And as much as he doesn’t like Ryan at first, he’s definitely attracted to him. A no strings and careless affair isn’t exactly Blake’s style, but he’s willing to do it because he wants Ryan. What I really enjoyed about him was that, deep down, he understood his own faults in the relationship. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust Ryan, it was that he couldn’t trust himself to make good judgment calls, not after the horrid ex. Blake had the most growth in this story, as he realized that his world was changing and that, sometimes, the risk is worth taking.
Now, I simply adored Ryan. Yes, he certain comes off as an ass at the beginning, but just with Blake. I liked that Blake seemed to fry his brain cells, and that he always wanted to get some sort of reaction out of Blake, even if it was a negative one. He’s funny and witty, and he certain says and does some jerky things. But when he realizes that he wants to be with Blake for real, he does what he can to show it. I love his gestures toward Blake, both big and small. He has trouble saying those three little words, because he’s never felt it before and because he truly thinks he’ll be shot down. He’s a bit oblivious to the way others view him, and he just can’t see that Blake is besotted with him. In fact, neither man can really see how the other sees him. They are both caught up in their own misconceptions, and that adds to the conflict. The whole time I was pulling for both Blake and Ryan to get their heads out of their asses and open their eyes.
So I really liked this book but I did have a couple of little quibbles. There were a couple of times where we had to rely on secondary characters to explain the behavior of the main characters. This isn’t always a bad thing, but in a few instances, I wished we could have seen it for ourselves. And, while the pacing over all was really good, at about the three quarters point, I was feeling the story drag just a little, waiting for these guys to finally communicate. That they were still not talking to each other got ever so slightly wearying. But these things didn’t dampen my overall enjoyment of the book.
Honestly, Making Nice is a trope-tastic endeavor into the romance genre and I really enjoyed it. The angst isn’t too high, and the characters are really great. If you’re looking for a wonderfully written, predicable in the good way read, then I can definitely recommend this book to you.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.